Nicaragua / Awas Tingni Community

For many years, the Center has worked with the indigenous communities of Nicaragua for demarcation of their lands and to stop widespread, destructive logging in their territories by others. Our work culminated in a precedent-setting ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights stating that 1) the Awas Tingni Indian community in Nicaragua has collective rights to their traditional lands, natural resources, and environment; and 2) the government of Nicaragua must demarcate and title Awas Tingni lands and provide a process for the demarcation of all indigenous lands in Nicaragua.

Several important milestones were reached in 2003. A joint committee of government and Awas Tingni representatives selected a local consultant to perform a diagnostic land use study of the areas in question, who released the final report in October. The Nicaragua legislature adopted a comprehensive law for the demarcation and titling of indigenous lands along the Atlantic Coast. And, the president of Nicaragua assigned his personal advisor to supervise the implementation of the Courts decision.  The Center concluded work with the Awas Tingni community in Nicaragua in January 2004. We are extremely pleased about the advance in international legal protection for indigenous peoples in the hemisphere and throughout the world occasioned by the Courts decision in this case.

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